Australian Strategic Policy Institute finds Huawei Technologies sponsoring overseas trips of Australian politicians

China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment, is increasingly finding it difficult to break into the U.S. and Australia telecommunication market on security concerns.

A report by Australian think-tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) discloses that China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a telecommunications equipment maker, is the biggest corporate sponsor of overseas travel for Australian politicians.

The report comes at a time when there is a growing clamor across the United States and Australia for banning Huawei from participating in the roll-out of Australia’s 5G next-generation communications network midst fears that the company is effectively controlled by the China’s Communist government.

The report also comes at a time when there are concerns of growing Chinese influence in the Australian economy and politics.

Much like the U.S., Australia is preparing to pass laws to limit Chinese influence in its domestic affairs.

According to the analysis done by ASPI, Huawei paid the expenses of 12 trips by Australian federal politicians to its headquarters in Shenzhen. The expenses include business class flights, local travel, accommodation and meals, between 2010 and 2018.

The Australian politicians who took these Huawei-sponsored trips include Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, former Trade Minister Andrew Robb and current Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

The ASPI research report found, Huawei accounted for 12 out of 55 corporate-sponsored trips by federal politicians.

Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment, has repeatedly denied that it is controlled by the Chinese government.

The United States has virtually banned Huawei from its market citing national security concerns.

According to Huawei’s Australian spokesman, Jeremy Mitchell, the company was not doing anything improper.

“We openly invite media, business, think tanks and politicians to visit us and understand us better,” said Mitchell told the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC).

Australian security agencies and Huawei have clashed over worries that the firm’s links to China make its hardware a data security risk.

Earlier this month, Huawei was blocked on security grounds from supplying equipment to Australia’s new broadband network.

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